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Presentation Ethics: 3 Tips to Increase Your Credibility

No matter how skilled or well-trained you are, you still need to have the right attitude to maximize your potential. You may have been able to create great and memorable pitches when you’re delivering your message to your audience, but failing to consider your behavior will put you in a bad light.

Ethics is a set of values concerned with what’s right and wrong. In terms of presentations, one can develop an interactive PowerPoint deck and prepare an engaging speech while being unethical. The reason might be because it’s become a habit, or part of upbringing has made certain people believe that nothing’s wrong with their actions.

But since it involves both discipline and attitude, you need to know how to properly value your audience’s needs and concerns. And this not only includes creating compelling slides, but also observing and evaluating yourself as an individual and a practitioner. What kind of treatment are you giving to your audience? Do you happen to overlook small things like showing respect and valuing their time? Considering these can go a long way in convincing your audience to reciprocate what you’ve made them feel.

In line with this, speech coach Stephen Boyd explains that there are several ways a speaker can maintain credibility on stage. This includes how you treat your audience, and how you project your personal image.

Now we’ll look at some of these guiding principles and see how you can be an ethical and engaging speaker:

1. Know the Value of Preparation

Recognizing your audience’s presence involves careful preparation. Failing to prepare leads to unorganized ideas, unfiltered information, and uninteresting slides that won’t gain you attention. Procrastinating can only prevent you from being productive and achieving your goal – to seek your audience’s approval and inspire them to act on it.

If you’re scheduled to deliver your pitch or showcase your proposal, it’s important that you plan on what to say and how you say it within a given time frame. Since you only have limited time to talk about your topic, label your points – from the most important down to the least important ones. This will help you include what you want them to remember, and remove those that won’t contribute much to your pitch’s impact.

Do advanced research about your topic, write down the subject’s main points, and craft an engaging PowerPoint deck. Doing so enables you to share useful insights to your listeners and lets you present your pitch with ease and confidence. Practice your pitch until you become familiar with it to sound more natural and conversational when speaking to your audience. This shows how preparation and practice work well together.

2. Show Proper Respect

Respect begets respect. Since everyone’s expecting to get the same respect they show others, they do it to avoid misunderstanding and quarrels. Who doesn’t want to be respected? Your audience surely wants to be.

Don’t forget how vital respect is when dealing with their gender, race, religion, and culture or social status. Avoid using examples that can put down or discriminate them in any way. Filter out negative and offending examples from the preparation stage. Keep in mind that your speech’s success depends on how these people react.

Part of respecting your audience is valuing their time as you’d want them to value yours. Prepare well to stay within your speech’s apportioned time. Sticking to the time limit will help you deliver your message effectively without the need to rush and lose people’s attentions.

Starting and ending your presentation on time also makes your audience feel that you respect them and displays that you’re a disciplined presenter.

3. Practice Radical Honesty

Presenting unreliable facts and information to your audience not only causes confusion, it also ruins your image and changes the way people perceive you. This is why verifying each detail you include in your pitch is crucial. Ensure all your sources and references are credible to avoid misleading the audience and putting your reputation at stake.

If you’re unsure about the information you’re citing, don’t include it in your speech to prevent disappointing your listeners. This leads back to the necessity of ample preparation to keep you from facing such situations.

Since you’re responsible for gaining people’s trust, you should take good care of it. Remember, trust is the foundation of healthy and profitable relationships. Being true to them will keep them from questioning your expertise and credibility.

Avoiding plagiarism is also a big factor in showing and proving your honesty before others. Defined as claiming one’s idea and regarding it as your own, the practice of plagiarizing others’ works can negatively affect your image and undermine your credibility. It doesn’t promote proper attribution to someone, and makes you seem unprofessional.


Treating your audience the way you want to be treated is important in building good and lasting relationships. While focusing on all the materials that you need for your pitch can result in a successful presentation, you need to consider how you’ll be able to bring satisfaction without compromising your professionalism.

Know the significance of preparation to let you organize your ideas and avoid being viewed as unqualified and unprofessional.

Give respect by making sure that every point that you’ll cover won’t offend anyone. Valuing their time also shows that you care more about them.

Practice honesty to maintain good standing and increase your credibility. This prevents misleading information that might upset the audience and make them lose their confidence in you.

These moral principles show that you value them and their needs more than yours. As a professional presenter, understand how to treat them properly to help you obtain their trust, and eventually their loyalty. This is why embracing and mastering these ethical practices makes you better and improves your pitch’s success.

To craft a more effective and engaging PowerPoint presentation, SlideGenius’ presentation experts can help you out!



Boyd, Stephen D. “Ethics In Public Speaking” The Sideroad.
The Ethics in Public Speaking: Why So Important?” HubPages. January 16, 2014.

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